If April is the cruelest month then January is the ugliest. Owing to a heady combo of biting wind, central heating and December’s early payday, Looking Good In January is less a goal, more a pipedream.
Except not for me. Not this year. Before Christmas, a friend introduced me to coconut oil. This friend cooks, cleanses and medicates with the stuff and, since she looks like Gisele and always seemed to have more money than me, I was persuaded to do the same.
Now as a rule, I don’t believe in panaceas. Anything which, as Doctor Google claims, can make you lose weight (it supposedly ‘speeds up your metabolism’), ease childbirth (by ‘lubricating’ the birthing canal) and cure AIDS (through its purported antiviral properties) simultaneously is clearly witchcraft and should be avoided.
But then I tried coconut oil and ate my words. Because as an all-purpose beauty treatment, it works. I won’t lie, there is nothing sophisticated about massaging grease into your ass, but within a week I saw a marked improvement. My hair looked shinier, my skin less like paper. Plus at about £10 a 500g jar, it’s relatively affordable. Perfect if, say, you haven’t been paid since 20th December. Make sure you get the raw, cold-pressed, virgin stuff (I like Biona from Amazon) and allow a week for actual results. Incidentally, cynics should take note of sales of Biona’s 800g pots which have seen an impressive 345 per cent increase since 2012. Plus Miranda Kerr uses it daily and I do everything she says.
Here’s how it’s become my daily go-to beauty:
Eye make-up remover
Used To Use: Aveda’s Pure Comfort Eye make up remover, £15, 125ml
Cost: £2 a week
Coconut Oil: 12p a week
Does It Work? It takes twice as long to remove my make up, and while I would normally use Aveda all over my face, this only removes eye make-up. But it does do that without leaving my eyelids red and my eyelashes tugged. Plus, you only need a 10p piece worth.
Saving: £1.88 a week
Used To Use: Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Lift Perfecting Serum, £31.20, 15ml (I know. But please don’t. You wouldn’t be the first.)
Cost: £4.20 a week (Again, my mum’s already gone there with the lecture…)
Coconut Oil: 6p a week
Does It Work? It’s very oily which is ideal for super-hydration, especially in winter. I suggest massaging a tiny dab around each eye for about ten seconds both morning and night. After about two weeks, you’ll look about 14.
Hair Styling Treatment
Used To Use: Aveda pure abundance style prep, £19.50, 100ml
Cost: £2.10 a week
Coconut Oil: 8p a week
Does It Work? Prepare to shine. Seriously. I warm a chickpea-sized lump in my palms and work it through the bottom inch before I blowdry. It makes the ends shine while weighing down flyaways.
Used To Use: Prescription emollient cream, £7.80, 500g
Coconut Oil: 48p a week
Does It Work: If your skin is like mine (grey, snake-y etc) this is where the magic happens. I used to lather myself in prescription cream. Now I lather myself in coconut oil for 1/10 of the price. ‘Liberal application’ are the operative words. Go nuts.
Used To Use: Hillfarm extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil 500ml, £5
Cost: 50p a week
Coconut Oil: 15p a week
Does It work? I’m a strong advocate of the mantra you are what you eat. Haribo actually gives me adult acne. Coconut oil contains good fatty acids which are good for your heart, lauric acid which boosts your immune system and helps strengthen skin tissue which genuinely, makes your skin softer. Try dissolving a teaspoon in your coffee. (Did I sound like Gwyneth there? Sorrynotsorry)
**Total savings: **
£9.11 a week
£36.44 a month
At the risk of sounding Gywneth-like again I will gladly bore on about the joys of coconut oil until you leave the room. Seriously. Because my hair is glossier, my skin is plumper and the once black/blue bags beneath my eyes are growing pinker by the day. Plus, I smell like St Lucia. And I’m now loaded. Sort of. In your face January.
Follow Morwenna on Twitter @morwennastar
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.